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  #11  
Old 05-09-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
This is my understanding also. Some of the older marine HF sets could only be unlocked by opening them up and making internal modifications. That would void their type acceptance. Some of the newer radios (the 802 being the obvious example) can be unlocked with simple software setting modifications, which does not affect the type acceptance.
That is interesting and pretty good news.

Two questions:

1. Is the 802 THE radio or does it have some real competition? If so what models are similar or maybe better or cheaper but still have the dual usage capability.

2. The way I understand it the control head is simplified from what straight ham radios have. What would a ham operator miss from their dedicated set and how much of a problem would it be?
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  #12  
Old 05-09-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

David-
You will probably receive a letter from the ARRL in the mail in the next couple of weeks, offering a "new ham" special membership rate. Or you can contact Home and askthem for that rate, as soon as you get your license. (Available from the online database when it is issued, no need to wait for the paper.)
ARRL is the national organization for ham radio in the US. Many publications and resources available.

For "marine ham" matters, look up Gordon West, a very well known and respected sailor, ham, and author who has published a lot on the subject.

With a technician's license, you can certainly buy any ham radio you please (no license required at all actually) but you are mainly much restricted to the VHF/UHF bands that have similar range and performance to a marine VHF radio. There's a narrow slice of HF you can also use, but if you really want to "do" ham radio for long distance, like a marine SSB? You'll need to press on and take the general class license.

ARRL, Gordon West, and a number of online sources have books and web sites to help with that.
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  #13  
Old 05-10-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
1. Is the 802 THE radio or does it have some real competition? If so what models are similar or maybe better or cheaper but still have the dual usage capability.
Furuno and Sailor both make DSC SSB radios. They aren't cheaper by a long shot. I think all the Sailor units are 24 VDC. Icom makes an 801 that costs more but is more robust (it meets CE rules for water intrusion the 802 doesn't meet).

The 802 is a great value among the limited competition for new radios.

On the used market there are many more options. Few are as easy to use on ham radio as the 802 and some don't have a path to e-mail if that matters to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
2. The way I understand it the control head is simplified from what straight ham radios have. What would a ham operator miss from their dedicated set and how much of a problem would it be?
Filter selection is the big one for me. Everything else is second order.
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  #14  
Old 05-10-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

So it looks like someday I'll probably get an 802.
Until then what are the chances I will be able to tune in (listen only) to any marine traffic on this HT Kenwood TH-F6A.

If so what kind of antenna would likely be the most successful.
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post


Filter selection is the big one for me. Everything else is second order.
Rats, I hate this stage of understanding. The stage where you know enough to ask a question but not enough to even understand the answer.
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

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Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Until then what are the chances I will be able to tune in (listen only) to any marine traffic on this HT Kenwood TH-F6A.
The TH-F6A is VHF and up only for transmit. You can open it up to listen to marine VHF but I suspect that isn't what you mean. As I read the specs there is no SSB capability (you need a BFO for that). You can listen to international AM broadcast on HF (shortwave) that isn't what will interest you.

Read up on spectrum, frequencies, and modes.
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  #17  
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
The TH-F6A is VHF and up only for transmit. You can open it up to listen to marine VHF but I suspect that isn't what you mean. As I read the specs there is no SSB capability (you need a BFO for that). You can listen to international AM broadcast on HF (shortwave) that isn't what will interest you.

Read up on spectrum, frequencies, and modes.
Thanks for putting up with my dumb questions.

As I read the specs it specifically says SSB for receive only, what am I missing.

KENWOOD TH-F6A 144/220/440 MHZ HANDHELD TRANSCIEVER+WIDEBAND RECEIVER(SSB,CW),

But I have learned enough to know that just because it says that doesn't mean I will be able to pick up marine ssb frequencies.

And even if it will pick up marine ssb frequencies I'm sure I'll need an antenna.


Yes my knowledge of spectrum, frequencies and modes is in its infancy. I'm working on it.
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  #18  
Old 05-10-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
As I read the specs it specifically says SSB for receive only, what am I missing.

KENWOOD TH-F6A 144/220/440 MHZ HANDHELD TRANSCIEVER+WIDEBAND RECEIVER(SSB,CW)
You missed nothing - I did. Read too fast. My apologies.

You will want a bunch of wire up in the air for marine SSB reception. Do be sure you can get a connector for the antenna.

I didn't read the owner's manual (it is on the Kenwood website) but I bet they talk about external antennas.

I see Universal Radio has a special for $300.
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  #19  
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Keep working at it!

In theory, your radio is capable of receiving SSB and CW signals over a wide frequency range, including HF (3-30 mHz) where most of the marine SSB transmissions take place.

However, the radio does not have a true product detector; rather, it uses IF filtering for SSB and CW modes. This is from the Icom manual:

The transceiver uses a general purpose IF filter to
receive signals in LSB, USB, CW and AM modes.
So, when you receive signals in LSB or USB mode,
the opposite side band signal is not fully attenuated.
At the same time, since the same filter is used for CW
reception, you may have difficulties seperating the
CW signal from other signals in the crowded band.


What that means is that you may indeed be able to hear some marine SSB transmissions, but not as clearly as you would with a true SSB radio. And, they won't be anywhere near as easy to tune.

Still, it's worth a try. Listen in on 8152 kHz every morning beginning at 0830 Eastern time. You may hear one or more of the many boats checking into the Cruizheimer's Net on marine SSB. And, throughout the day you may hear some traffic on the ham frequency 14,300 kHz where the Intercon Net and the Maritime Mobile Service Net take place.

As noted above, you really need a General Class ham license for maritime operation. I'd work on that...spend your time boning up, get the license, then get a real SSB transceiver. You can get a ham or even marine SSB rig for $200 and up. Even the lower cost transceivers have excellent receivers which will afford you the opportunity to listen as much as you like and, eventually, to transmit as well.

Good luck and 73,.

Bill
WA6CCA

Last edited by btrayfors; 05-10-2014 at 05:14 PM.
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  #20  
Old 05-11-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post

As noted above, you really need a General Class ham license for maritime operation. I'd work on that...spend your time boning up, get the license, then get a real SSB transceiver. You can get a ham or even marine SSB rig for $200 and up. Even the lower cost transceivers have excellent receivers which will afford you the opportunity to listen as much as you like and, eventually, to transmit as well.
Yes I'll go for general asap.
Any candidate receivers you have in mind. None of my Elmers seem to have any knowledge of marine matters and other than maybe a minor interest in ARES my interest is exclusively marine.

I expect to be full time on board in about two years so I don't want to go to the expense of building a killer shack although it would be fun.

My thought was to get a short wave scanner to pick up marine ssb traffic just to get used to the lingo. I've found that "old ears" sometimes take a little time to adjust to a combination of poor reception and special vocabulary. I've got nothing to do anyway for a couple years so I figured I could at least get used to it.

Then I figured I would get a good HT like a t CT-60R or VX-6R or Vx-7 some of them are waterproof so when I'm doing coastal deliveries I would have something to keep myself entertained on watch.

Then I saw the above kenwood model and figured I could get it all in one small box.

You are a unique resource as you know boating and Ham so now that you know my goals maybe you could point me in the right direction.
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